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Healthy Breakfast: Milk vs. Orange Juice

A healthy breakfast can give you the energy you need for the day, control your hunger so that you're not snacking on unhealthy snacks and help regulate your digestion. However, when planning your breakfast, it can be difficult to choose between what seems like two apparently healthy options. Healthy drinks like milk and orange juice, for example, both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Milk May Be More Likely to Cause a Bad Reaction

About 1 in 3 people are lactose intolerant, meaning that typical dairy milk can't be a part of a healthy breakfast for them. Even if you weren't diagnosed with lactose intolerance at a young age, it's possible to develop the intolerance over time. Therefore, drinking too much milk can cause digestive problems.

However, soy milk is an alternative and it contains a greater amount of fiber than dairy milk. Soy milk isoflavanones can help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cholesterol problems and cancer. However, while soy milk provides some vitamins, it does not provide calcium, so you should make a point of ingesting calcium another way.

Orange Juice Could Still Cause Problems

People who have throats that are easily irritated, sensitive stomachs or orange allergies can be unable to tolerate orange juice due to the high level of acidity in the juice. If it's just irritation, you can look for pulp-free, low-acid versions, which may lessen this effect somewhat. Drinking the juice along with a healthy breakfast--i.e., not on an empty stomach--can help lessen irritation as well.

When Milk is Most Beneficial

Drinking milk as part of a healthy breakfast can have a number of benefits, including offering you a healthy dose of vitamin D and calcium, which is essential for preventing osteoporosis and building strong bones and teeth. Milk can also lower your risk for developing colon cancer, cholesterol and hypertension. At the same time, whole milk is quite high in saturated fats and can, in excess, contribute to weight gain, heart disease and high cholesterol. An easy solution to get the health benefits of milk while avoiding the potential problems is to drink only skim or 1% milk.

The Benefits of Orange Juice

Orange juice is quite high in vitamin C, which helps boost your body's immune system. The high level of antioxidants in orange juice may help reduce your risk of cancer, and other components of the juice may help relieve arthritis pain and decrease your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The citrus in orange juice has also been shown to prevent or at least lessen the development of kidney stones. Compared to milk, orange juice is only rarely a poor choice as part of a healthy breakfast, but orange juice is lacking in calcium.

Both milk and orange juice can compliment a healthy breakfast, although neither should take the place of a full, balanced meal. It's possible to get both in one meal by pouring milk over a healthy cereal and drinking a glass of orange juice, but you can also rotate your drink option so that you don't get bored with breakfast.

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